Ace China re-opens, honors Gilchrist County deputies killed inside restaurant
TRENTON, Fla. (WGFL) —
Two weeks after the Gilchrist county deputies were shot and killed inside the Ace China restaurant, it’s back open for business. They say they are completely overwhelmed by the support from the community.
“It’s super busy,” said Paula Denham, an Ace China employee. “It’s been so busy we’ve had to cut our phones off and just take walk-in orders right now.”
Denham says on a typical shift, she places 25 orders. But within 3 hours Thursday, she placed 81 orders.
Business hasn't slowed down since the ‘open’ sign lit up Thursday - even with only walk-in orders.
“The first time I saw they were open, I turned around and said, ‘I think I’ll go get some lunch,’” said Terrell Hagin, an Ace China customer. “Make sure I spend money at this place because they deserve it. These people are very important to our community. It wasn’t their fault, they are very important.”
This community didn’t just come for a good meal, but to give their respects and tips as well.
“This community needs to tell these people, we love them, we enjoy their restaurant, but we need to be there for them,” Hagin said.
“Everyone just coming in and giving tips, coming in and hugging Ms. Sunny,” Denham said. “It’s just awesome to see people coming in and being a part of it.”
Ms. Sunny wanted to give back as well with a plaque to honor their fallen heroes.
“When Ms. Sunny asked what we could do, because she didn’t know our morals or what our traditions were,” Denham said. “I didn’t want her to stress about what she…she had been through enough, I didn’t want her to deal with anything. So I called the Gainesville Trophy Shop and they actually made it for free.”
The plaque arrived Friday - and quickly found a spot up front where everyone could see.
Once things slow down Ace China says they'll place it above the table where the fallen deputies were sitting on their lunch break.
“We’re all family,” Denham said. “There’s no judgement, or culture or nothing. Its just love. Its awesome.”